The Importance of Knowing What is Developmentally Appropriate

Every few weeks, during sessions with parents or children, I say something that has a parent reacting: “Wow! Really?”  Typically, I’m not saying something I think is shocking or unusual.  But there is so much information, advice, parent peer pressure, and “the-right-way-to-do-it” messaging out there, that parents are surprised when they hear something different.  Here are a couple of examples supporting the idea that understanding your child’s development can make parenting them easier.

It’s not unusual for a young toddler to bite. 

 Wow! Really? Young toddlers are often at the cusp of growing their language skills, which means that sometimes they feel frustrated and some times, frustrated or not, biting is just faster than getting the words out.  That doesn’t make biting okay, but it does explain why we see it at that age.  Catch phrases like “not done” and “my turn,” (depending on where a toddler is in their language development) can be very helpful.  When a parent reinforces using they phrases through prompting and modeling, they become the “go-to,” rather than biting.

If you know your 4-5 year old can put on his or her own shoes, it’s ok to do it for them.  

Wow! Really? Developmentally, I like to see that a 4-5 year old is able to open a shoe and put their foot in successfully.  If there is Velcro on the shoe, I anticipate that they can close the shoe as well.  Tying laces can vary across this age span.  Certainly, a child with developmental needs may still actively be working on this skill. Once this skill is mastered however, I’m completely comfortable with a parent putting a child’s shoe on.  Morning time and getting out of the house can be a challenge.  If putting your child’s shoes on relieves some of the stress for you and for them, go for it.  You know they are capable of doing it, so why not help your morning be a little more pleasant.

Have questions about whether something your child is doing is developmentally appropriate? Try searching the site! Or, reach out and I’ll do my best to help.